Learning Curves The Joy of August
August is always a great month for riding in the West. Frances and I have traditionally taken the first two weeks of August to just get away on the Harley. The destination is always different but we normally take in a few days at Sturgis during this August ride. This year was an exception. For heartfelt reasons, I avoided Sturgis. I did hear about the hailstorm with baseball-sized hail that damaged many cars and bikes and injured several people. I am not sorry I missed that!
I was able to cover over 5,600 miles this past month and have felt the spirit of Frances with me every inch of the way. I made the trip from Provo, Utah to where the Rocky Mountains emerge in northern Canada and continued through Alberta and British Columbia working down the rugged coastline in the Pacific Northwest. I continued down through the Redwoods and into San Francisco before heading east back to Provo.
My travel companions were two friends from the dental practice. Our ride took us over 4,600 miles, through 6 National Parks in Canada (Waterton Lakes, Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Glacier and Kootaney) and 7 National Parks in the U.S. (Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier, Redwoods, Lewis & Clark, the Olympic Peninsula and Great Basin).
This experience has opened up a new vision of the great roads to explore in Alberta and British Columbia. As a result, we will make some great changes in our Canadian Rockies ride for 2010. This ride has always been truly an “over the top” experience but I feel these new changes will bring a very significant addition to the joy and excitement of this 10-day international journey. Plan now to join in as one of 10 bikes that will fill this ride. This ride is intended for the experienced rider—with or without a passenger.
Our August Colorado Rockies ride brought together a great group of very special people. Many were first-time riders with Learning Curves and our team at Learning Curves is so grateful for their support and friendship. This great ride took us once again from Provo to the southern reaches of the Rocky Mountains on the border between New Mexico and Colorado. The scenery and roads on this ride are among my favorite on our 4-day rides. As always, Dr. Dennis Wells provided CE that was of great relevance and value to all of us. The networking among the participants throughout each riding day provides a significant part of the learning experience. Thank you, Dennis.
At Learning Curves, we have the wind in our face!
The wind in our face is one of the great things we look forward to on a ride. It carries the scents (both good and bad) that make riding an extra-dimensional experience. When the sun is high and hot, the wind is our natural air conditioner carrying heat away from our bodies (and engines) as we ride through the beautiful vistas God has gifted us. The wind is just one of the many things that help distinguish our travel from those in the cages we call automobiles.
As we experience the joy of the wind, we must also be prepared for its inherent challenges. A tail wind is a very special experience. To ride with a very strong tail wind is like floating in air. Even at 65-70 mph you feel nearly no resistance against your body. Your gas mileage also benefits increasing 20% or more.
Conversely, a heavy head wind can be grueling. It wears on you. It lifts your half helmet off your head. A head wind can decrease your gas mileage by 20% or more.
The real challenge for us all is the cross wind. Because of its weight, the Harley handles a cross wind exceptionally well. It is necessary to do a slight counter-steer against the cross wind to stay on a straight path. To counter-steer means to push on the left handgrip to go left and right handgrip to go right. You must always be ready for a strong gust that can knock you toward the next lane. These gusts can be anticipated with a passing semi truck or a high bridge. Keep your body as relaxed as possible and make confident, smooth, firm steering inputs. Don’t jerk the bars!
Be sure to enjoy all aspects of the wind. It is not a problem—just a challenge that keeps us alert and increases our riding skill.
Above all, be safe!
Register Now for Our 2010 Rides!
A Final Thought
If you want to blend in—take the bus!